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20.10.04

Truffaut Anniversary

François Truffaut

Other Newspaper Articles:

Jean-Pierre Dufreigne, François Truffaut (L'Express, October 18)

Jean-Luc Douin, Les secrets de fabrication, les rages et les indiscrétions de François Truffaut (Le Monde, October 19)

Fernand Denis, Truffaut: La Cinémathèque d'à côté (La Libre Belgique, October 19)
I was alerted by an article (Truffaut ou l'adolescence du cinéma, October 12) by Dominique Borde for Le Figaro that, twenty years ago today (October 21, 1984), French director François Truffaut died at the age of 52. Here is a translated excerpt:
Twenty years later, Antoine Doinel is still here. Not in Truffaut's shadow but next to him, as his double, and ultimately in front of him like the herald announcing a new battle, preceding the work and the creator, the better to accompany him and define him, to reveal and mask him. And Doinel is Jean-Pierre Léaud who has aged with his character. There is a little bit of all of us in Léaud in the four films and one short film: the misunderstood and neglected child, the clumsy teenager, a lover shut out in the cold, a deceiving husband, the indecisive lady's man. Several slices of life that reflect the director and his viewers from 1959 to 1979, from Les 400 Coups to L'Amour en fuite.
Another article in the same issue (Regards croisés, October 12), by the same author, also sadly disappeared into the archives too quickly. It described the tribute that will be given to Truffaut at this year's edition of France Cinéma in Florence, from November 1 to 7: Retrospettiva François Truffaut (an exhibit and showing of the complete films) and the publication of unknown interviews of Truffaut, made by Aldo Tassone between 1975 and 1981.
We see him first as "viewer and critic." "I love directors who give an impression of logic, meaning harmony. For me, a bad film is an incoherent film, a film where the direction contradicts the story, pulls it in another direction." He wanted movies to tell stories animated by an internal energy rather than by pretty images: "For me, a film must move like music, it should make us think of a concerto, with his meditative and agitated moments, rather than of a series of paintings in a museum. I think that cinema has a lot in common with music because it's an art of duration." That's why he preferred Orson Welles, "whose images flow unpretentiously, having no value in themselves but only by their sequence, their relationship one to the next," over Visconti who often shows "an excessive visual ambition."
France Cinéma 2004Another article in the same issue («Les 400 Coups» restaurés, October 12) announced that the Scanlab laboratories in Saint-Cloud, with a grant from the Fondation Gan pour le cinéma, have restored the original negative of Les 400 Coups in a high-definition digital version (available in French stores on October 20).
The density and contrast of each image have been equilibrated so that, when projected, the whole thing looks like it was shot continuously. At the same time, cuts and imperfections have been reduced when tears spread out sometimes over five to ten images. The missing frames have been completely restored by computer graphics, with the result that the new copies are top-quality. Ninety-three minutes of happiness in 35mm.
Dominique Borde's final article in the series for Le Figaro (Quelques livres, October 12) gives some brief information on books that every Truffaut fan will want to own: Antoine de Baecque and Arnaud Guigue, Le Dictionnaire Truffaut (Edition de La Martinière, buy it from amazon.fr), with all the information you need, from A to Z; Dominique Auzel, Paroles de François Truffaut (Albin Michel, buy it from amazon.fr), with all the screenplays; Dominique Rabourdin, ed., Truffaut par Truffaut (Editions du Chêne, buy it from amazon.fr), with interviews and other things in Truffaut's own voice.

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